Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Human endeavor is by its nature imperfect. History is often tragic, but unresolved, it can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past. And reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future. I know there's strong views in this chamber about the terrible events of 1915. And while there's been a good deal of commentary about my views, it's really about how the Turkish and Armenian people deal with the past. And the best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive.The St. Petersburg Times says that Obama is trying to have it both ways. After criticizing the Bush Administration's decision to fire John Evans, former ambassador to Armenia who dared use the g-word in public, you might want him to say the word. But in Turkey? It calls for a level of courage that no previous president has shown. The phrase "terrible events of 1915" are unmistakeable in their reference, and to include "the Turkish people" in its reference does much more than any of President Bush's lame Armenian Rememberence Day proclamations made safely from Washington. Most of us would have preferred he'd've just skipped it.
I would not view the promise as kept, but I think Obama deserves an "incomplete" rather than calling this a failure. He gets another chance on April 24.